Happening Today

Chapman hearing, toxic flame retardant bill, and more

— The Supreme Judicial Court hears seven oral arguments, including the high-profile case over whether convicted serial child rapist Wayne Chapman should be freed from prison, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Oral arguments are scheduled in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in the case Gray v. Cummings, which involves an Athol police officer’s use of a taser on a 57-year-old woman with bipolar disorder, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Moakley Courthouse, Panel Courtroom, 7th floor, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

— State Rep. Marjorie Decker and Sen. Cindy Creem join Professional Firefighters of MA, Clean Water Action and MASSPIRG to call on Gov. Charlie Baker to sign a bill that bans the use of 11 toxic flame retardant chemicals found in children’s products, residential furniture and household goods, outside the House Chamber, 11 a.m.

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— Attorney General Maura Healey announces $3 million in funding to 13 community-based health care partnerships through a new grant program her office said is aimed at promoting ‘health equity across Massachusetts,’ the Greater Boston Food Bank, 70 South Bay Ave., Boston, 11:30 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is a guest on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka and the Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts host a forum about social-emotional learning and strategies for effective implementation in schools and communities throughout Massachusetts, Warren Conference Center, 529 Chestnut St., Ashland, 6 p.m.

For more calendar listings, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available) and MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

To combat congestion, Walsh wants higher fees on Uber and Lyft

This conceivably could get rolled into some sort of congestion-pricing bill on Beacon Hill. We’ll see. From Adam Vaccaro at the Globe: “Mayor Martin J. Walsh has a new idea to beat the traffic on Boston’s streets: boost the fees on all those Uber and Lyft trips. The Walsh administration plans to lobby state lawmakers to adjust the fees that are charged on each trip in the new legislative session that began last week.”

There’s no set target fee. But the administration is looking at a number of options, including possibly charging more for passengers who ride alone in Uber or Lyft cars. The Herald’s Brooks Sutherland has more on Walsh’s transportation and environmental agenda at the State House.

Boston Globe

As Trump prepares to address nation, Trahan, Neal and Kennedy have their say on shutdown

President Trump, locked in a battle with Dems over the government shutdown and Mexican border wall, plans to address the nation tonight on the “Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border,” reports NBC News.

Here’s one small surprise: U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan says the shutdown needs to end – and so Dems might have to deal with Trump on the border wall, reports Hillary Chabot at the Herald. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is warning the shutdown could impact taxpayer filings later this year, reports Shannon Young at MassLive. And U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy is simply frustrated with the entire affair, saying Trump’s wavering on issues makes a shutdown solution “next to impossible,” reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall).

Elizabeth Warren is giving Iowans some of that old-time populist religion

There are a number of stories and columns this morning praising U.S. Elizabeth Warren for focusing on economic issues in the early stage of the presidential race. Art Cullen, editor of the Storm Lake Times in Northwest Iowa, writes at the Washington Post that Warren appears to be hitting a nerve in Iowa by emphasizing populist economic issues.

Meanwhile, the NYT’s Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, is calling Warren a “serious policy intellectual,” even though he doesn’t agree with all she says about economics. He’s also blasting the media for not paying attention to her message.

Finally, Susan R. Holmberg at the NYT says Warren is right to push for more workers on corporate boards.

Hey, media, stop with the horse-race coverage of Warren and other candidates

Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan is blasting the media for its early coverage of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, saying the horse-race and gaffe-pouncing coverage has got to end. 

But some at the Post apparently haven’t gotten the get-serious memo: “Why Elizabeth Warren — and every would-be president — prefers macrobrews.” Then there’s this bobble-heads graphic piece at the Post on how the Dem presidential field might be narrowed down (and it’s actually not a bad piece, with Seth Moulton and John Kerry making cameo bobble-head appearances).

Another sinful (but fun) horse-race story, from the Globe’s Jess Bidgood: ‘Elizabeth Warren is talking about Trump. She just doesn’t want to name him.” OK, one last sinfully interesting horse-race story, from SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Spilka likes Warren, but notes that ‘it’s early’ in prez process.”

Washington Post

Baker to file standalone education-funding bill

From SHNS’ Matt Murphy: “Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday he’s ‘optimistic’ that the Legislature and his administration can reach a deal to reform public education funding by the summer, despite past attempts falling apart in recent years when talks between House and Senate Democrats broke down. … The governor on Monday said that proposal would be filed as legislation separate from the budget, allowing it to have its own hearings.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

National Grid workers ratify contract, ending six-month lockout

It looks like both sides got some face-saving concessions in order for this to happen, though National Grid perhaps got a little more than it gave. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The six-month at National Grid ended on Monday when employees approved a new contract that appears to give the utility what it wanted in two key areas while offering members of the steelworkers union a number of improved benefits, including what amounts to a 22 percent salary increase over 5 ½ years.” SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more at WGBH.

CommonWealth

Kevin Spacey, wearing a lavender flowered shirt and a blue polka dot tie, pleads not guilty

As expected, actor Kevin Spacey was mobbed yesterday at his Nantucket arraignment, at which his lawyers entered a not guilty plea to the sexual-assault charge filed against him and argued his sexual encounter with his accuser was “mutual and consensual,” reports the Boston Globe. Spacey never spoke at the media-circus event. But thank goodness the Hollywood Reporter was there, noting in its lead that Spacy was “wearing a gray suit, a lavender flowered shirt and a blue polka dot tie.”

Thanks to ‘Trump bump,’ law schools are seeing an increase in enrollment again

The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that enrollment at local law schools is on the rise again, after seven painful years of enrollment declines. One of the possible reasons: “Institutions appear to have benefited from a surge in interest in the law in the Trump era and a stronger job market for attorneys.”

BBJ (pay wall)

Maybe Rep. Dooley isn’t paranoid after all: Feds also concerned about Chinese-made subway cars

State Rep. Shawn Dooley has elicited more than a few snorts by airing his theory/concerns that the MBTA’’s new Chinese-made subway cars might be used as a “Trojan horse” by Chinese cyber spies. Turns out there are more than a few people in Washington with similar concerns, as the Washington Post reports. They’re also worried China is trying to corner the market on rail-car manufacturing in general.

Washington Post

The tradeoff: Repairing T’s infrastructure may require major disruptions

The good news: Steve Poftak, the MBTA’s new general manager, is determined to aggressively push ahead with a much-needed repairs and maintenance program at the T. The bad news: It could lead to major service disruptions in coming years. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has the details.

Meanwhile, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that the T’s popular $10 all-you-can-ride weekend fare program didn’t have to be suspended last month before it was re-launched this past weekend. He explains why.

An old fire station tradition: ‘Locker room talk’

Note the cause-and-effect gender statistic in the second sentence. From the Globe’s Milton J. Valencia and Meghan Irons: “The city-commissioned review to be released Tuesday found pervasive ‘locker room talk’ and an unwelcoming culture toward women in the largely male ranks of the Boston Fire Department and urged city officials to take several steps to boost the number of women on the force. Just 16 women are in the 1,500-member Fire Department, which has been criticized three separate times for its culture over the past 19 years.”

Only one percent of city firefighters are women. That’s it.

Boston Globe

UMass employees may owe back payments for their pensions

As many as 3,000 employees in the UMass system may owe money to the state’s pension program because of years’ worth of incorrect payroll deductions, Lisa Eckelbecker reports at the Telegram. At least one union representing impacted workers is saying UMass should cover the shortfalls.

Telegram

Another fight over GIC health care changes?

Speaking of state employees: After last year’s battle over proposed health-care coverage changes by the Group Insurance Commission, the Massachusetts Union for Human Service Workers & Educators, which represents tens of thousands of government workers in the state, is mighty nervous about the GIC’s announcement late last month that it will be conducting “listening sessions” for employees later this month. The union has “growing concerns” about what might be in store, reports the BBJ’s Don Seiffert.

BBJ (pay wall)

Sixth pot shop set to open this Friday in Great Barrington

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlettreports that the state’s sixth pot shop, this one in Great Barrington, is expected to open later this week. Meanwhile, SHNS’s Colin Young at WBUR reports the Cannabis Control Commission has also approved a new pot growing facility in Franklin.  

Meanwhile, a proposal to open a pot shop at the old Mary Ann’s dive bar in Brighton, near Boston College, is raising more than a few concerns in the neighborhood, reports Felicia Gans at the Globe. We can’t imagine what those objections could be. Can you?

In Framingham, pot-growing operation seen as farmland savior

Will this be Charlton redux? The owner of Eastleigh Farm — one of the largest private tracts of undeveloped land in Framingham — is proposing to lease part of his property to a marijuana growing facility, a move he says is necessary to keep the land open. The property owner and would-be operator of the facility unveiled their plans to neighbors and the community on Monday, Jim Haddadin reports at the MetroWest Daily News. 

MetroWest Daily News

State spikes anti-homeless spikes under Route 2 bridge

That was fast. Hours after Arlington town officials objected to the placement of metal spikes under a Route 2 bridge to discourage homeless people from sleeping there overnight, the state quickly removed the “hostile architecture” yesterday, reports Abigail Feldman at the Globe.

Fyi: Globe political columnist Joan Vennochi could have written about a lot of things this morning — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s dancing, Elizabeth Warren’s likability, etc. etc. But she says the spikes-under-the-bridge story was just too outrageous to ignore.

Boston Globe

Fourth case of polio-like disease confirmed in Massachusetts

We all need to keep on an eye on this. From Anne-Gerard Flynn at MassLive: “The number of confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a rare polio-like disease that can cause permanent disability, has increased to four in Massachusetts while cases under investigation in the commonwealth have increased to seven.” She has more concerning stats on the disease.

MassLive

Fall River mayor’s chief of staff exits City Hall to focus on recall

Gen Andrade is leaving her job at Fall River City Hall in an effort to preserve it. Andrade, who serves as chief of staff to embattled Mayor Jasiel Correia, resigned last week and will focus her efforts on helping Correia survive a March 12 recall election, Jo C. Goode reports at the Herald-News. Four potential challengers have begun collecting signatures to run against Correia, btw.

Meanwhile, another former mayoral chief of staff has landed a new gig. Jon Chesto at the Globe reports former Marty Walsh aide–and candidate for Congress–Dan Koh has taken a position at Boston-based tech startup HQO. 

Herald News

Gender-neutral birth certificates?

From Steve Annear at the Globe: “Officials in Cambridge are pushing for a gender-neutral option to be added to birth certificates for people born in the city who don’t identify as male or female, a move inspired by municipalities that have adopted similar legislation across the country.” Just to be clear: It’s later-in-life adults – not newborns – who are the ones “who don’t identify as male or female.”

Boston Globe

Afghanistan deployment helps put politics in perspective for lawmaker

State Rep. John Velis recently returned from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan to find a federal government partially shut down and the national discourse stuck in partisan gridlock — and he thinks his tour of duty underscored the importance of finding common political ground, Shira Schoenberg reports at MassLive. Hopefully, more than a few people will listen to him.

MassLive

Could we see electric scooters popping up alongside flowers this spring?

From Callum Borchers at WBUR: “Massachusetts state Rep. Michael Moran plans to file a bill this month that would exempt electric scooters from a law requiring turn signals and brake lights, paving the way for a possible spring pilot program. The measure could make the small, dockless vehicles available for rent throughout Greater Boston.”

WBUR

Unions now facing two-front legal fights in Massachusetts and D.C.

Massachusetts unions sure have their legal hands full these days. The Globe’s Jon Chesto reported over the weekend that the Supreme Judicial Court today will hear an appeal that was filed on behalf of several public-sector educators who argue they shouldn’t be forced to support a union. Meanwhile, Paul Carney, a spokesman for the conservative Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, explains at CommonWealth magazine why his group has filed an amicus brief in support of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of a case involving campaign finances and “union loopholes.”

Score one for Healey: ExxonMobil will have to turn over documents on climate change

We’re talking about a potentially epic documents dump here. From a report at WBUR: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said it  won’t hear an appeal by ExxonMobil, removing a potential road block from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s effort to obtain documents as part of her probe into the company. Healey is looking into whether the oil giant knowingly concealed information about the impact of climate change from the public.”

WBUR

Oysters, steak and Harvard: Emails detail how Boston tried to impress Amazon execs

A trove of emails has shed more light on how the city of Boston sought to woo Amazon to land its HQ2 in the Bay State, detailing a day-and-a-half-long tour of Greater Boston that included local delicacies, emphasizing the area’s strong educational sector and even including a ride on the Blue Line, Tim Logan and Jon Chesto report at the Gobe. 

The BBJ’s Greg Ryan (pay wall) says the tour guides also emphasized the area’s existing tech community, with DraftKings CEO Jason Robbins and others explaining why they put their firms’ roots down here.

Roots of Migration: US Immigration Policy Past and Present

Join us this year as we present workshops on essentials issues in nonprofit management such as supervision, financial management, fundraising, communications, and more! We have trained more than 3,000 nonprofit professionals on the skills needed to take the lead in their work and their careers.

Better Nonprofit Management Training Series

A Community Conversation: The Power of Public Monuments & Why They Matter

In conjunction with the $2.8 million restoration of the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial (Shaw 54th), the Partnership to Renew the Shaw 54th, comprised of four organizations– the National Park Service, the City of Boston, Friends of the Public Garden, and the Museum of African American History– will host a panel discussion about the role of monuments and memorials in our society.

the National Park Service, the City of Boston, Friends of the Public Garden, and the Museum of African American History

2019 Leadership Institute

The goal of the NAIOP Massachusetts Leadership Institute is to develop the practical knowledge and leadership skills that are necessary to advance the careers of mid-level commercial real estate professionals with 10+ years of experience. This is a 12 week program (January 15 – April 4).

NAIOP Massachusetts

Live Webinar: Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning

Join AIM on a Webinar led by experts from Wolf & Company who will discuss best practices for achieving and maintaining safety, security, and compliance in times of trouble. In addition to providing ample time for your questions, you will also hear first-hand from one of Wolf’s clients, Kurt Shouse, AVP, Information & Cybersecurity Officer Florence Bank, about his recent experiences.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Faith and Justice in Society: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives

“Faith and Justice in Society: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives” will bring people from across Greater Boston together to learn about Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives on social justice from prominent religious leaders, deepening their awareness of our shared religious and social heritage.

A Faith That Does Justice

Power Breakfast: Economic Outlook

Join the BBJ for a panel discussion looking into 2019!

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Cambridge officials want to add gender-neutral option to birth certificates – Boston Globe

MBTA to purchase fleet of hybrid buses – Boston Herald

Massachusetts

Voters approve $400,000 to help settle Rockland budget shortfalls – Patriot Ledger

Bill to protect Mashpee tribe’s land refiled – Cape Cod Times

A new bill could allow Bird, Uber and others to bring scooters back to Mass. – WBUR

McGovern to wield a gavel with family ties – Telegram & Gazette

Nation

Could a Chinese-made Metro car spy on us? Many experts say yes – Washington Post

DOJ delaying Whitaker testimony before Congress – Politico

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